In order to try for a more unified look to my work, I tried to incorporate some of the design ideas from the appliqued vases to the bowls. As I also like to use stamps I thought that by applying a few stamped appliques, it would allow me to also just stamp directly on some pots without any appliques and yet they would look unified (see first pic with small pot stamped with fish next to slab pot with stamped and then applied fish). Appliqued work on small items like mugs just never looks right to me, though just stamps are OK. It was also difficult to get the appliqued work to look like it was part of the bowl, but a few suggestions from Stephen - like to delineate edges with a rib mark helped to somewhat unify the decoration to the pot. The bowl with the 3 squares (2nd pic down) was done very spontaneously and because of that I don't feel that I can reproduce it easily. Also it just did not feel right to me. I analysed why I felt like that - it was because it felt like a fraud - it was not me - because I did not spend much time working out the design ahead of time, unlike my other ones. May be I need to work on spontaneity. None of the bowls that I tried really satisfied me but it will be an area that I will definitely work on.
Friday afternoon we went on a field trip to Starving Rocks State Park to view the wonderful rock gorges and hiked up to the lookout over the Illinois River. The talk about the flying carp set me off to do a bunch of fish stamps. Saturday was a busy day, trying to get various pieces finished - and wished that we did not have to leave. Had a great supper of blackened catfish - first time that I had catfish - as it is not a popular fish in Canada. During the week we also showed pictures of our pots so that everyone became familiar with the other's work.
It was wonderful to work with the other participants - kindred souls who love clay and I learned so much from them as well. There was quite the contrast - Marian and I as the two older students where clay is a second career versus the 3 young students who are just starting their careers - hoping to make clay a part of it. Their idealism and enthusiasm made me think back to the heady days of the 60's and 70's when I still had my all my life ahead of me and anything was possible. With so much determination and drive I'm sure that they will succeed in their clay journey wherever it will take them. Every studio needs one of these students! Thanks Kenyon, Sarah and Lindsay!
I found Stephen to be a natural teacher - he taught me to really look at my pots so that I can become more critical. Whenever anyone asked him for an opinion of a pot his first remark was always - "What do you think?" And only after struggling to articulate what I thought would he give his opinion and reason. Every time that I look at a pot now I think of Stephen's remark. I found that I also learnt just as much when he talked to the other students about their pots - I never realized there was that much to say about a pot.
In Dec 2009 I renamed my first blog to Centered - Focus on Clay and Creativity - as I have finished my year long journey workshop with Steven Hill. The focus will continue to be on thoughts about my work - about creativity, design and function...................
I have been making pottery off and on for 40 years, exploring many different aspects of ceramics. I named my pottery business after "The Newfoundout" - the secluded valley high in the Opeongo Hills of eastern Ontario where we own an abandoned farm and where in 2007 I built a wood-fired kiln. I normally fire in a gas kiln in Deep River, Ontario, at the Deep River Potters' Guild, but do several wood firings in the summer.
This blog originally documented my year long "journey workshop" with Steven Hill. It was an incredible "journey" which had a profound effect on my work and as was the North Bay mentorship. I highly recommend this type of workshop to anyone who is interested in exploring their work and creativity.